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disclaimer that im not a fan of the origin character concept to begin with, but idk if larian doesnt care about the story - i just get the feeling that they are so invested in their vision for the tadpole plot and working in the writers own origin characters to fit that story that any changes we can expect are more qol or gameplay mechanics.

i just dont see larian making much changes to the tadpole/absolute plot (which i think has general pacing and story route issues) at this point in the game largely due to the emphasis being placed on origin characters and if there are significant changes to the story/narrative then its likely that the writers characters/companions will also need revisions, which could be another big undertaking - to the continued detriment to folks who prefer the custom pc route. now i would like if they took a fresh look at the current storyline trajectory and see if by making any tweaks may improve the overall narrative flow, but id be surprised if larian responds to any such feedback at this stage of the game

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Originally Posted by nation
disclaimer that im not a fan of the origin character concept to begin with, but idk if larian doesnt care about the story - i just get the feeling that they are so invested in their vision for the tadpole plot and working in the writers own origin characters to fit that story that any changes we can expect are more qol or gameplay mechanics.

i just dont see larian making much changes to the tadpole/absolute plot (which i think has general pacing and story route issues) at this point in the game largely due to the emphasis being placed on origin characters and if there are significant changes to the story/narrative then its likely that the writers characters/companions will also need revisions, which could be another big undertaking - to the continued detriment to folks who prefer the custom pc route. now i would like if they took a fresh look at the current storyline trajectory and see if by making any tweaks may improve the overall narrative flow, but id be surprised if larian responds to any such feedback at this stage of the game

All true. You can refer to my personal review of the game (appendices 3), but let's just say I hate the concept of origin characters who are also potential companions. It could have worked in dos2 if Larian weren't making stupid arbitrarily choices like "players have to commit to a party". But in bg3 there absolutely no reason to do the origin characters again


Larian's Biggest Oversight, what to do about it, and My personal review of BG3 EA
"74.85% of you stood with the Tieflings, and 25.15% of you sided with Minthara. Good outweighs evil, it seems."
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Originally Posted by Abits

I just want to stress that me writing "Larian doesn't care about the story" is a bit provocative way to frame it. If I were to write it in a more nuanced way, I would say that Larian's design philosophy emphasize experiment and exploration. They seem to put player freedom at the highest regard when designing a game, and are willing to "sacrifice" story integrity to do so. And it's not necessarily a bad thing, I'm sure a lot of players like this design philosophy. I do wonder though (and I hate being that This-isn't-Baldur's-Gate guy) whether most BG players played this game for the same reason. If so, BG is kinda restricted and not a very good choice for this game style.


Except they are ruining experimentation and exploration by not rewarding players for it. What's the point if the result is the game breaking or not acknowledging your choices with pertinent NPC interactions?

They certainly haven't made their job any easier when your party contains multiple story characters. Each exponentially increasing the possible outcomes. You should be able to select one companion then find, interact with, and gain and understanding of each other companion while on the ship and then save only one of them in the escape IMO. This would cut down the amount of flags required.

Last edited by HYPERBOLOCO; 25/10/20 03:02 AM.
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Originally Posted by HYPERBOLOCO
Originally Posted by Abits

I just want to stress that me writing "Larian doesn't care about the story" is a bit provocative way to frame it. If I were to write it in a more nuanced way, I would say that Larian's design philosophy emphasize experiment and exploration. They seem to put player freedom at the highest regard when designing a game, and are willing to "sacrifice" story integrity to do so. And it's not necessarily a bad thing, I'm sure a lot of players like this design philosophy. I do wonder though (and I hate being that This-isn't-Baldur's-Gate guy) whether most BG players played this game for the same reason. If so, BG is kinda restricted and not a very good choice for this game style.


Except they are ruining experimentation and exploration by not rewarding players for it. What's the point if the result is the game breaking or not acknowledging your choices with pertinent NPC interactions?

They certainly haven't made their job any easier when your party contains multiple story characters. Each exponentially increasing the possible outcomes. You should be able to select one companion then find, interact with, and gain and understanding of each other companion while on the ship and then save only one of them in the escape IMO. This would cut down the amount of flags required.

Why? It's not like this kind of thing has never been done before, and done successfully. In fact, the end result of one of these times will go down in history as one of the most memorable missions in a game, probably ever, the Suicide Mission in ME 2. There were little side missions in ME 1, but they could, for the most part, be done accidentally, such as Wrex's family armor. The Lord of the Rings jumps around so much in the books that a speed reader could get dizzy, and yet, it works. From where I'm sitting it's way too early to tell what Larian thinks about the narrative, or the plot, since we don't have a third of the main plot, and we're significantly short of plot on the companions too.

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I'm here to talk about the alternative, Larian studios. I'm not sure if it's factually true, but to me it feels like Larian has been around for a long time. They made many games, and played around with different genres for quite some time now. I admit I didn't play many of their games, but of those I did play, you can certainly get the Larian feel. You don't get it from their stories or characters, but from their (sometimes) crazy game mechanics ( and I mean it in the best possible way). I always play around with the idea of an imagined Larian's stuff meeting where they pich a game : "hey you know what would be cool? A main character that can turn into a dragon!".

I think you are wrong on this, the Larian feel as you said, would be from the well thought out main story and quirky characters/encounters. Divine Divinity reinforces why for the characters and story, I didn't get that far into the game but all you have to do is interact with anyone from the first village to get it. DOS1 does the same, Wizard that likes turning into a cat, Willy the Wishing Well, extremely annoyed captain Aureus, Tullia that got her face bit from Bairdotr (bear daughter), Zig Zax period.
BG3 Spoiler
the bugbear and ogre in the shack event

DOS1 is in my opinion equal to DAO, this is when they hit the mark for me.

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origin characters as companions is a bad idea - origin characters is a great idea that worked before. Companions are great. Mixing the two is not.

I'd agree with this but some people do like playing origin characters, why it keeps coming back.

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We need more choices - I replay dragon age origins again now and I'm astonished by the amount of dialogue options you get in any meaningful encounter. I feel like right now bg3 is seriously lacking at this front, and relies too much on persuasion choices. I could complete Baldur's Gate 1 and 2 with 3 charisma points and never feel like I'm missing out on something. Persuasion should be an optional choice in a game of this kind, not a requirement.

I think the persuasion, intimidate, and bluff (ya im blanking on last one lets call it bluff for now) destroys the dialog, this is equal to the good/bad choices slapped into mass effect an similar games. Your freedom of choice disappears because your going to choose whatever you think your character is. Example, my toon is a liar, my toon is a bully, etc.

This will probably never happen but if they removed the up front tags, hid the dialog rolls, and increased dialog, I think over all interactions would be better.

BTW nice post, was a good read.

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Originally Posted by Abits
Super Duper TL:DR - The dialouge and story are broken simply because Larian seems to put them in a lower priority than the gameplay, and not necessarily because of bad writing or EA bugs. If you want to read more but not everything, I would recommend part 2. If you want address the gameplay Vs story argument, please read appendices number 2.

Original Thread
TL:DR for the original post: just the broad strokes, for more detail, read through the original post:
Disclaimers- I love Bg3 and aware of the fact it is just an EA. but based on how DOS2 turned to be, I think the Issue I'm Addressing will not be taken care of unless we demand it to be.
The gameplay is more important argument - while some of you might think so, I disagree and have reasons to believe most BG and even most DND players think like me. For more details about that, please refer to appendices number 2.

Short Intro and TL:DR

After my initial post on the matter, I slowly came to understand my problem with the storytelling of DOS2 and (seemingly) BG3. As I gained more understanding, I think it's important to define the problem as articularly and accurately as possible, to improve the discussion, and to be able to ask Larian for specific and practical solutions. I thank everyone who took part in the previous discussion and hope this one would be a productive discussion as well. after the first discussion I realized I tend to ramble too much, so this time I will try to keep things short and to the point. if you are feeling tired of my rambling, you can skip to part 2.
TLDR: part 1 is a general example and a presentation of the problem
part 2: the problem defined as best as I could
part 3: why I don't think it's a bug
Epilogue - how to move foreward


Part One - Are the story and characters really the problem?

One of the more common examples people use when arguing that the companions in this game suck comes from the first encounter with Astarion. During this encounter, Astarion tries to threaten your MC with a knife, and depending on your dialogue choices he could do so quite violently. The problem is that during this encounter most players have at least one companion in their party if not more, and all the companions just stand silently and watch. This led many to the (rather sensible) conclusion your companions are a bunch of psychotic dicks. I, however, think it is a problem with the game. The game simply doesn't acknowledge the fact you have companions with you, and ignores them completely, like they are not there. In other words, there seems to be a problem with the way the game handles Event flags.



Part Two - The Problem In a Nutshell

So whether you survived all the previous raving or you came here just to hear the gist, here it is - Larian doesn't seem to care about the story, or at least doesn't seem to care about the story enough for a game at this scale. I don't think it's (necessarily) bad writing, I don't think it's a bug issue (more on that later), I think that Larian simply prefers to give us as many RP choices as possible no matter how much harm it (potentially) creates for the story's cohesiveness and immersion.

I mentioned flag event earlier and now I'm gonna talk about why it's important here, why it is nearly impossible to make it work here, and most importantly, why I don't think Larian is even interested in making it work, or at the very least puts it in a very low priority.

In a well-designed RPG, the way the world reacts to you depends on many event flags. Some of them are things you set in character creation like race class and stats, but the important ones for our discussion are your choices. And the more choices a game provides you, the harder it is for the designers to account for all of them. At this point, I'll recommend you read the appendices for some examples of bad flag event settings, but simply put if Larian wanted to account for all the possible choices the player makes and have them being reflected by the story, they don't seem to want to do it.

This creates hilarious (or horrifying, depends on who you ask) situations where characters acting strangely and don't react to things you did even they supposed to directly affect them. The opposite is also true, and sometimes characters would treat you like you did something you didn't do, maybe because what you did do is not an option the developers have predicted. This leaves you with a lot of NPC's that live in their own "private quest bubble", and only react to very specific things you do, and ignore the others as if they didn't happen.

The discussion about whether the story and characters of bg3 are any good is important but is not the issue here. If the event flag work is that sloppy, even a bg2 wouldn't be allowed to flourish if on every encounter you have with an NPC the story forgets where are we in the story, or doesn't even react to it.


Part Three - A Bug or Design Philosophy?- about the question of whether this would be fixed in the main release


the gist of this chapter in a short exgange I had in this forum:
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Originally Posted by Tuco
Originally Posted by Abits
It is a big problem I made it my main goal to get Larian to fix. In short, I feel like Larian gives you choices but don't care about making them work

Sounds just like a fairly typical scripting bug, actually.

It is a bug only if there is a conversation that is not triggered. I doubt such a conversation exists.


The short answer for this chapter's title is probably not. The little less short answer is that I don't know for sure, but based on several factors I don't believe it is.
The reason I don't think it's a bug issue is based on my experience with dos2, the comparison between ea dos2 and the full game, and Larian's comments about the ea so far.

Playing through Fort Joy (the first act of Divinity: Original SIn 2)is a very telling experience for anyone trying to predict how the final BG3 product will look like. for starters, you have an option to just teleport away by doing a rather simple quest, thus skipping all the important story bits of the fort. In a game that cares about its own story, I would think skipping such a huge chunk of the plot would have dire consequences, but nada, the story moves on. and even in the Fort itself, nothing seems to blend together into a comprehensive and cohesive narrative, and you are left with a giant mass. Even some supposedly easy to fix story bits can't seem to work unless you do them in a very particular way. The best example is Sebile, the red prince and the dreamer. In order to advance their plot, you need to first talk to the dreamer, then recruit Sebile, and then talk to him again so she can kill him. If you try to bring both party members to the dreamer, one of them randomly step up and talk to him, while the other stares at the ceiling. it's particularly jarring in case Seblie is the one who goes to talk to him, and then murders him while the prince just stands like a doofus and only make a short comment after the fact. If Bioware was directing the scene, you can bet your ass that all the possibilities were accounted for, and each one of them had other interesting dynamics. Sebile's quest line in this game is also responsible to Shehila, a character that is a walking talking plot hole, and no matter what you do, she always shows up out of nowhere. Shehila is such a good example since she embodies everything that is wrong with Larian's style of story telling - in each act you encounter her in a different place, where she acts and does the exect same things no matter what you did in previous acts.

There are many more examples, but in order to find them, I have to play DOS2 again. Unfortunately, once I realized most of my choices has little effect on the story if at all, and even the illusion of choice doesn't exist since sometimes the game outright disregards my choices, I found that it's much harder to complete this game, and his replay value dropped substantially. The important part is the comparison between the game in EA and the full experience. I wondered how is it possible that a game with a very successful ea comes out, and still have so many of these bugs? I went and checked, and based on this Reddit article I found out that the only major change they did from a story perspective apparently was to change The Red Prince's personality. Yay.

Again, the problem is not necessarily incompetence on Larian's part (although it's surely part of it), the problem seem to be that Larian doesn't seem to think there is anything wrong with the situation as it is now. Sure, the Astarion bit I mentioned in chapter 1 will probably be addressed because of the huge backlash it got, but personally I think the backlash is not big enough and a bit misplaced. all the examples in the appendices are treated as a separate scripting problem, but I think they are just a symptom of the main issue I described so far. Larian might fix some of them, but fixing each one of them demands a lot of work, not only in scripting and flag eventing, but also writing and line recording, which If I'm right and it's not a scripting bug but a lack of script, it doesn't seem like something Larian cares about too much.


Epilogue - Moving Foreward
There are three main ways I see us move forward. I'll list them here by order of probability, from the most probable to the least one.
1. nothing new under the son - The game's story and events will remain largely the same. Larian will add some dialogue line here and there, probably to account for the issues that are reported the most. I think I'll delve more deeply into the "story vs gameplay" argument in the appendices, but here I'll just say that at least for me, If this is the case it's hard for me to see this game becomes anything more than what it is in its current state - harmless fun. perhaps the only difference is the status shift - instead of "harmless fun with potential for more" just "harmless fun". Nothing wrong with it, but I'll always see it as a missed opportunity in that case.
2. damage control - Maybe Larian will get their shit together, realize that the Story is important too, and will do more extensive work on the script (writing) and scripting (coding). It is the best outcome, and might make this game the legend it has to be. it is also the most costly and hard option. it means that larian would have to really test the game, see and try to address the choices players make, and make these choices worthwhile narratively. after that, they will have to write and record the relevant dialogue and insert it to the game. it's hard, but I do believe that in this case it is merely a question of motivation. If the people in Larian will want to do it, they could.
3. Restrict the raging player - too much choice that doesn't mean anything is not worth it. the most coherent part of the game from a narrative point of view is the tutorial area, where you can only move forward. I'm not saying make the game linear, but either address the fact the player is doing things out of order, or don't let him do it. Even Baldur's Gate 1, which was anything but linear, had certain places blocked for you until you reached a certain stage in the game (like the city itself for instance). the situation in BG is built like you have access to chapter 3 of BG1 before you arrived Neeshkal. How can you build a narrative around the goblin threat if you can go to their fort and kill all of them before reaching the druid grove? again, you could try to address it (option 2 in this part), but as long as you have so much freedom to do whatever you want, it is very hard to create a story that is not all over the place.
I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas as well.


Appendices


1. bad flag event examples
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the first one might be a bug but it fits the MO- during my fourth or fifth playthrough (I love the character creator sue me) I failed (again) in the persuasion check when trying to convince Khaga not to kill the tiefling girl. This time I decided in a kind of psychotic fit to kill Khaga on the spot. As I expected, all the druids in the room turned hostile, and I killed them all. But surprisingly, everyone else wasn't hostile. Not only. The rest of the camp and the druids outside were not hostile, even Nettie who was in a nearby room talked to me as if nothing wrong. Same is true for everyone at camp. I had to look very hard for someone to acknowledge what I did and in the end I talked to Zavlor and found out that if you push him hard enough ( be aggressive in your dialogue choices) he will ask you to kill Khaga. Of course the problem was that she was already dead.


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Example two, which is much worse - this time I didn't want to take shadowheart with me through the whole game, so shortly after recruiting Layzel I asked shadowheart to go back to camp. She was still a bit pissed I recruited Layzel and threatened me she won't wait in camp. To my surprise, when I went to camp she was indeed missing. I later encountered her in the druid grove. The problem is that during our conversation in the grove, half of the time she acted like she is still mad at me and in the other half she acted like we never met. This example is worse because there is nothing game breaking I did here, but still the game didn't acknowledged my choices even though it offered them to me. If I never played dos2 I would think this is simply a bug or unrefined dialogue, but now it's seems to like Larian just doesn't care for these things.


Other examples, some of the things I found, other from users around the web:

Me not trying to break the game but breaking it anyway:
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More on the druid grove another choice that seems to be something the game might expect you to do - as I entered the grove the guard tries to stop me. I ignore them and then choose the attack option. This creates a lot of chaos. Initially, I thought I had to fight only several guards but then I noticed many of the NPC's are leaving the grove area towards the camp (among them, khaga, Nettie, the tiefling bard and others). After I finished off the guards I went to the tiefling camp to see what's going on. There was a big battle between the tieflings and the remaining druids, all the tieflings were at my side against the druids. For reasons unknown Rath, the druid fought at my side against the others. After the battle was over I went to Zavlor to try to figure out what the hell happened. Now this is the important part - Zevlor wasn't very clear, only said it had to be done and steered the conversation to the goblin threat. I went back to the grove to try to understand why Rath, with which I never talked before fought with me in the battle. Rath was standing and blocking the entrance to the grove. He also didn't have any explanations but curiously he said: "we won". How did you win if all the druids but you are dead? Wtf.
Then I came back to my camp and gale is complaining to me about something that happened with the druids.
Now, what the hell happened here other than standard Larian's mess? I think at some stage, I don't if it happened when I chose to attack in the dialogue or at a later stage, the quest to kill Khaga triggered. But no context, no proper resolution, no nothing. And it all started from me choosing a dialogue line, so again, I didn't even try to break the game but it broke so easily.


Wyll's drive to hunt the goblins -
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When you meet Wyll he is In the middle of a quest to hunt the goblins. there is a particular goblin he is looking for that can be found in the windmill. but if you remove him from the party after he tells you about it and before you meet said goblin, suddenly he doesn't care about him anymore.


A comment by the Reddit user Plumppotato (link)-
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Anyone else think the first interaction with Astarion feels, off? I think it's because by the time I meet him, I've usually already recruited Shadowheart and on my second playthrough, Gale. Which means they're both standing there while I rassle him on the ground with a knife to my neck, doing nothing. This could be fixed with either a simple move or a line of dialogue. Maybe having him be the first possible companion you meet, just after waking up on the beach, even sooner than Shadowheart. That way you're alone when he attempts to attack you. Or, by including a line where he says something along the lines of "stay back or I'll slit his/her/their throat!" If the game detects party members with you.

Comment by Larian user cgexile titled "Karlach quest line":
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So I said I'd help her. I went to the group on the hill and they told me that she did all these horrible things. I went back to her and there is no option to basically have her explain her side of the story after what they told me. I only have the option to basically kill her or go back and kill them.

Feels weird like she needs to explain wtf they are talking about because their story was pretty wild and she said nothing about her mass murdering ways.

Edit: also I don't exactly want to wipe them out since they have a Trader there and I'd like to keep her around.


Something that happened to me recently-

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in my who knows which playthrough of the game (I had many) I went for a crazy mage build with 8 int when my goal was to get the circlet that gives you 18 int as soon as possible. I tried to avoid the grove gate fight and head straight to the ogres but couldn't avoid the fight. After the fight, instead of going into the grove I moved on to fight the ogres and came back afterwards. But sadly it seems I successfully broke the game (again). When I entered the grove Zavlor was standing in the entrance alone and there was no way to interact with him.



2. Gameplay or story? Which is more important?

The short answer is gameplay. After all, this is a video game, and although I strongly disagree with the notion that video games can't be a fertile ground for superb stories, this is an interactive medium, and as such, gameplay has a huge impact on the quality of the game. There are some things that one must keep in mind when having this discussion:

1. Gameplay is not just combat - people seem to forget it, but gameplay is not just combat mechanics, and in fact, every interactive aspect of the game is qualified as gameplay. That includes multiple choices in dialogue, things like the new dice mechanics in bg3 like perception checks and map design. Most of the best games I ever played had a strong connection between gameplay and story, and they were not two separate parts. It's not a must for a video game, and specifically I think of Japanese video games (Devil may cry, many jrpgs) that keep the story and gameplay Nas two separate entities. It could be beneficial for both players who care about the the story and those who don't, since players who care can view it and those who don't do not. But Bg3 is not one of those games.

2. Why people play Baldur's Gate - I talked about it at length in my previous post, but people play Baldur's Gate for many reasons. That's why people keep complaining BG3 doesn't "feel" like Baldur's Gate but when asked for specific reason why, has no conclusive answer (I've seen many different answers, from things like day/night circle, fun characters, RTwP, and more). For me, the main reason to play Baldur's Gate is the attention to details in the storytelling. It's hard to think of other things Bioware games had in common other than that. But since Knights of the old Republic until mass effect 3, there are not many other things Bioware games had in common. And I feel this is important.

To summarize, I'm sure there are BG players who skip all the dialogue and only play the game to create awesome builds and try to find new ways to solo the game. But even in this group, I don't think there are many people who don't care about the characters and stories at all. The only proof I have for it is a very limited comparison I did between how popular Baldur's Gate is and how popular is a game like Icwind Dale. Both have pretty much the exact combat mechanics, but one is regarded as the best RPG series of all times, and the other is a niche game that failed to compete Diablo 2.

In short, the story matters. Especially in a western RPG, where it is connected so tightly to gameplay. But that's just a kinda subjective opinion. If you disagree, more power to you, and you'll probably appreciate and enjoy BG3 much more than me.


3. My review of Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access


Time played: 93 hours.

If you read through this whole post, you probably know by now that I'm a huge fan of story driven RPGs. Ever since I first played Knights of the old Republic, this genre has become the main genre of video games I played. I delved into Jrpgs, and I'm a huge fan of the devil may cry series, but that's about it. Ever since Kotor I've been following Bioware and like the rest of the western RPG community I'm very sad at this company's current state.

Fortunately for us, we seem to live in a new crpg golden age, with a lot of indie companies trying their luck and two former small companies who became a huge success and are on the way to replace Bioware as the RPG king.

These two companies are of course CD Project Red and Larian. Both full of Bioware fans and both has games that at least parts of their mechanics are rooted in Bioware "mythology".

After the crazy (and we'll deserved) success of The Witcher 3, CD Project put their full weight behind their Cyberpunk project, which is great news for gamers and RPG fans alike, but less for me, since the one genre I absolutely loathe is first person shooters. My dislike of this genre is twofold - If I spend 40 minutes in the character creator, I want to be able to see my character in game. The more crucial reason is that I simply hate the first person perspective and find it extremely uncomfortable. But I really digress.

I'm here to talk about the alternative, Larian studios. I'm not sure if it's factually true, but to me it feels like Larian has been around for a long time. They made many games, and played around with different genres for quite some time now. I admit I didn't play many of their games, but of those I did play, you can certainly get the Larian feel. You don't get it from their stories or characters, but from their (sometimes) crazy game mechanics ( and I mean it in the best possible way). I always play around with the idea of an imagined Larian's stuff meeting where they pich a game : "hey you know what would be cool? A main character that can turn into a dragon!". In that regard they remind me of another company that dabbled in RPGs but mostly tried to innovate the medium - Lionhead.

Since Larian's last game (divinity Original Sin 2) was a relatively successful game (for good reason), wizards of the coast decided they deserve a shot at creating a successor to one of the best video game series ever made.

Until I first picked up the game I thought this is a perfect choice. I enjoyed Dos2 despite it's shortcomings, and I liked everything I saw from bg3. Even after picking the game the first few hours were great, the characters creator is awesome, the combat is a lot of fun, and the story is interesting, despite being a little basic at this point of early access.

I discussed my main issue with the game at length, but here are more general comments I have:

- the companions seem great. I don't understand the criticism against them, and think most of it is kinda unfair. So far the companions set great expectations.

- origin characters as companions is a bad idea - origin characters is a great idea that worked before. Companions are great. Mixing the two is not.

-technical praise - although it is an early access I still want to praise Larian on that aspect. People don't talk enough about the fact that aside from loading a save, there no loading screens at all in the EA. It was amazing in DOS2 and it's amazing here. The game performance are super uneven for me at least, but if dos2 is any indication, I'm sure the situation would be much better at release.

Graphics, animations, and bugs - all to be expected. I heard Larian hired people from Telltale for this aspect of the game, and if it's true, I trust them to give us great animations eventually, even if right now things are a bit clunky. The weirdest is actually Shadowheart. I'm not sure why shadowheart specifically has such a jarring animations, but if I had to guess I would say it's because she was featured in the demo we saw prior to the release, and they over animated her a little to show the engine's potential. Other than that, the character models are gorgeous and a huge step forward from dos2 cartoonish people.

-We need more choices - I replay dragon age origins again now and I'm astonished by the amount of dialogue options you get in any meaningful encounter. I feel like right now bg3 is seriously lacking at this front, and relies too much on persuasion choices. I could complete Baldur's Gate 1 and 2 with 3 charisma points and never feel like I'm missing out on something. Persuasion should be an optional choice in a game of this kind, not a requirement.

-Failing is not fun - the promotion of this game was terrible with spoilers and bad game demonstrations (I'm much more salty about the spoilers though). One of Larian's taglines was "we want to make failing fun. Well at least for now they failed miserably. It is related to my previous point, but the game is way too binary about its option for it to be fun to fail. Most times, failing leads to something bad like battle or a trap triggering and very rarely has an interesting outcome. This kind of game design practically promotes save scamming and cheats, since there are no actual benefits of falling, and what's worse is that is so much randomness involved.

To summarize, I think right now this game is harmless fun with enormous potential. Only true change in the way Larian does things would help to raise it into something more, perhaps a new legend.



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Abits Offline OP
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Please don't quate the whole thing lol


Larian's Biggest Oversight, what to do about it, and My personal review of BG3 EA
"74.85% of you stood with the Tieflings, and 25.15% of you sided with Minthara. Good outweighs evil, it seems."
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[SPOILERS AHEAD - both for BG3 and DOS2] Before reading my reply, note the following: I am completely green to this type of RPG games, even more so with DnD. I've played (and very much enjoyed) DOS2 which is why I am here. So do consider that this is from my newbie perspective. smile

Answer to Part One - Are the story and characters really the problem?
- Before I bought the game in EA I read the feedback on Steam. The most convincing negative feedbacks were mostly regarding followers - the one I was most convinced by basically said "all followers are evil and will kill you in your sleep" - so when I finally bought the game anyways, this was the standard I had when I met them.

I was shocked when I actually started talking to the companions. Sure, I didn't exactly find any character as instantly intriguing as Ifan in DOS2 (I adore him, he is AWESOME - love at first sight... but to be fair - I love all DOS origin characters <3) - and the characters were so much not-befitting-my-character that I even chose to not even attempt to romance anyone - but they were seriously not "evil" at all. The most evil option is the lady you meet at the beginning (sorry, I do not recall her name) - but I wouldn't really classify her as evil. She's more like a dedicated warrior (results > moral), imo. And the vampire dude even apologizes after getting caught trying to suck your blood - that's not very evil... And to be fair, their personalities are not bad (as in poorly written) - I actually think they are rather fine, especially since Larian apparently said that they'd introduce the "least picked" characters first (- don't quote me on this, I just saw someone claiming this on the forums). And the claims that they treat the player poorly? I just disagree - they behave rather naturally considering they don't know us, and we don't know them. I think most of them softened up very quickly, all things considered (like vampire dude). Some of them come off as arrogant, but tbh - so did Sebille in the beginning (I even killed her during my first playthrough :x I didn't notice she was a companion until much later). And in Sebille's case, I thought much worse of her in the beginning than any current companion in BG3.

Answer to Part Two - The Problem In a Nutshell

I definitely think you're on to something about the flag-system. Especially regarding your companions being completely interactive during many conversations (like Red Prince / Sebille in DOS2). But I don't think it is about not caring, rather than Larian just wanting too much without being able to finish it - I mean, in DOS2 the wiki recommends people not to have certain characters at the same time cause their story conflicts with each other etc - that's just not okay. frown There are so few origin characters, the LEAST they could do is making sure the game experience is playable with them all.
But, moving on to my personal experiences - I've noticed the scripped/flag issue behaviour both in DOS2 and BG3, and here are a few examples:

BG3 - after the seductive dream:
* After the seductive dream, I talked to all of my followers to see if they had the same dream and what they said about it. I spoke to the yellow lady first and she read my thoughts and saw that I declined the man in the dream (purple robes of that kind on men is not my thing - I do hope they let us alter their clothing later on) and praised me for it which she and the cleric lady approved of. But when I spoke to the cleric lady, she seemed to just assume that I slept with the man in the dream even though she should know that I didn't (cause she reacted to it). Same with all other characters, really. But I didn't find the other characters response as weird as the cleric lady cause she actually reacted to me rejecting him.

BG3 - After killing the first goblin that Wyll is looking for (the one with the gnome at the windmill)
* the goblin gave up, Wyll got his information (where to find Spike etc) and instructed me to kill it. I killed it (cause muck that goblin :x) and when I talk to Wyll afterwards he says something like "Damn it all - I wanted him alive not dead." and I am sitting there like "????".

* Same encounter as above, Wyll was (during combat) ambushing their backline and the vampire dude was next to the goblin in question. The goblin gave up, and I was only presented with two choices: let him run, or kill him. Wyll was standing right next to me, but did not interact with the goblin at all. I got the result I stated above after letting vampire dude attack the backline and have Wyll go for the goblin boss.

( I retried the encounter like 10 times, I either got the first or second result stated above. )

BG3 - right after the celebration thrown after saving the druid grove and the thieflings (? spellcheck)
* Gale told me during the celebration that he'd explain everything (long bedtime story?) the next evening... The next evening, however, I was visited by the half-devil. Next evening after that - nothing and Gale seems to have forgotten about the conversation now... >.<

* I am not sure if this is intended or not - but literally *ALL* characters that I interacted with had something sexual to say to my character during this evening. And I have not used one flirt option on ANYONE (as far as I know). Yellow lady went on about how I'd wonder what her lips would taste like and how I could have earned a place alongside her in bed, Wyll admitted to be jealous cause vampire dude asked me out (????), Gale said that I already had company for the evening and that he also felt rather jealous (?????), the vampire dude said the wine was dissatisfying and that he wanted some quality time when everyone else was sleeping and the cleric lady said something about that it could have been us, but I neglected her (?????) - are they all thirsty drinkers or wtf? xD

DOS2 (skipping the stuff about Red Prince and Sebille interactions crashing together, most people who played DOS2 knows about it):
* In certain conversations, such as the one with the Lohar dude (Beast > player), the Doctor (Beast > player), Alexander (Ifan - unless resorted to combat - > Player) and the Shadow Prince (Sebille > Player), you gotta interact with them TWICE to actually get somewhere in the conversation. First it has a follower dialogue and then it has a casual dialogue with you like the previous one never happened. Having a proper conversation that actually includes all part at once according to flags (like you described Bioware having?) would seem much better.

* After certain events during DOS2 I interacted with my companions to get their thoughts on the matter - more often than not, though, I couldn't even ask them about it. Even if it was rather big stuff involving them personally. Generally, I found all characters lacking in response to actions and consequences, but I felt like I had more options to talk to Ifan (might been due to romance run though) regarding current events than the other ones. As an example, Fane remained depressed for pretty much entire act 2 ("do whatever, what's the point"), even after some crucial discovers and in act 4 when I wanted to hear his thought about the deathfog in the sewers he just said "Arx really isn't that bad!"... Like what! And Beast didn't have much at all to say regarding all the deathfog during act 4 either. BG3 does this much better, to be honest. Even when there isn't an " ! " above the companions head, sometimes they'll have something interesting to say anyways! (or not, if you declined the vampires romantic advances he'll keep spamming "if you're looking for second chances, am afraid you missed your opportunity..." - like what? xD Idc about that, what do you think of the god damn hag in the swamp!?! )

Answer to Part Three - A Bug or Design Philosophy?- about the question of whether this would be fixed in the main release

I honestly don't think it is a design philosophy - but rather just a case of being in over their heads. Like I said, I am completely new to these kinds of games - but I am not (as) new to the concept of programming games. I do agree they seem to prefer maximum character freedom before functionality and depth but I dismiss the thought of Larian doing this on purpose. I doubt we will see all of these things fixed (except for crucial stuff like the Wyll conversation regarding the goblin) but I'd assume they'd try to fix most of them or at least as much as they can. They kind of have to if they want the game to be as big as they want/need it to be.

Answer to Epilogue - Moving Foreward

I could see them do any of these options, to be honest. And no matter which one they choose, I'll be okay with it. Might not become my favorite game in the universe and depending on how much effort they put into it, I might turn to new developers in the future for my new thirst for RPG games - but I'll play BG3 and enjoy my "harmless fun" since I already paid for it. >.< To be honest, if they put the bar at mediocre, then they'll fall out of the business soon. Not even the giants among companies like Electronic Arts or Blizzard is sitting safe with the industry growing so rapidly - laziness, unwillingness to improve and not being willing to go just a little bit further is going to be the end of companies soon enough.

All in all, I agree with most things that you said. Thank you for taking the time to write your post!



Last edited by Dez; 26/10/20 05:39 PM.
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I didn't read the whole thing yet, I will come back at it later on but for now i have to say one thing." I, however, think it is a problem with the game. The game simply doesn't acknowledge the fact you have companions with you, and ignores them completely, like they are not there." ->That's a real problem.

It's infuriating that Larian chose cute 3d cinematics over showing more of your companions characters. Their cinematics are really nice and cool to watch but why all I get as a reaction is " gale approves, astarions dissaproves". Like can't they say something? Intervene? Minsc, Viconia, Anomen, Korgan -> All those guys would run in the middle of a conversation being like " I don't like this, we should do it in a different way. "

That's what made them human, that's what made us love or hate them(hate in a good way..). I already talked about it somewhere but I can't emphasize this enough. Companions need to step up their game.

The only two moments I actually remember are Astarion interventions against the beast hunter in the swamp and gale message after his death. Everything that happens in the camp is nice too but why do they ignore everything that happens around them? It feels...awkward.


Alt+ left click in the inventory on an item while the camp stash is opened transfers the item there. Make it a reality.
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Abits Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Dez
[SPOILERS AHEAD - both for BG3 and DOS2] Before reading my reply, note the following: I am completely green to this type of RPG games, even more so with DnD. I've played (and very much enjoyed) DOS2 which is why I am here. So do consider that this is from my newbie perspective..........

Your whole comment is very interesting, insightful, and quite surprising for someone with so little experience in the genre. I want to address what you wrote in the same way you wrote it, based on parts.

Originally Posted by Dez
Part 1 - completely agree. I love the bg3 companions, and consider them a highlight of the game currently.
But I don't think it is about not caring, rather than Larian just wanting too much without being able to "finish" it

I think this small comment is phrasing what I wanted to say better than I did. I said it before and I'll say it again - Larian is great company full of passionate people, but I can't escape the feeling they are too ambitious for their own good. It's fine when they make their own games, but when they tackle project like bg3, I think a little more conservative approach might have been better, unless they will get more resources (which right now might be possible).

Quote
DOS2 (skipping the stuff about Red Prince and Sebille interactions crashing together, most people who played DOS2 knows about it):
* In certain conversations, such as the one with the Lohar dude (Beast > player), the Doctor (Beast > player), Alexander (Ifan - unless resorted to combat - > Player) and the Shadow Prince (Sebille > Player), you gotta interact with them TWICE to actually get somewhere in the conversation. First it has a follower dialogue and then it has a casual dialogue with you like the previous one never happened. Having a proper conversation that actually includes all part at once according to flags (like you described Bioware having?) would seem much better.

Oh yes thank you. It happened to me multiple times when I played dos2 and it was super immersion breaking, but I couldn't remember specific examples. The good news are that so far I didn't came across something that bad in bg3, but there are many other examples, and for a game this big it's simply unacceptable.

About part 3 - when say design philosophy, I mean it's a priorities thing. But I don't rule out the option they just did too much stuff without option to deal with it. Prefer to give them credit and assume they just prefer to sacrifice some parts of the story immersion and give us more crazy gameplay choices in exchange.

Thank you for your comment it was very interesting.


Larian's Biggest Oversight, what to do about it, and My personal review of BG3 EA
"74.85% of you stood with the Tieflings, and 25.15% of you sided with Minthara. Good outweighs evil, it seems."
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Hmmm, that is a solid point you're making regarding Larians responsibility when taking on specific titles (in this case Baldur's Gate), compared to the standards when they are doing their own original products. From this perspective, I absolutely agree.

And I apologize, if that is the definition you meant by term "design philosophy", then I agree. The only thing I disagree with is that I don't think they are sacrificing the quality of choices on purpose, I think they simply fail to hold on to the quality-standard they set when they try to maximize character freedom. It is a pity, really. Because when thinking back on DOS2 (which is not very long ago in my case xd heh) - I see that a lot of the core issues for the storytelling are stuff that has been around since... Well, always. And I was VERY late to the party - there have been tons and tons of updates and patches for the game during these years, but these pretty innocent, yet so devastating, clashes of choice and consequence linger still.

And hence I fear you're right about them not being fixed for BG3 either (but I would be overjoyed to be mistaken!). DOS2 was lovely and I basically binged the entire game for at least 2 weeks (for ONE playthrough!), talking to every NPC I could find, read every book and piece of paper I could find (and saved most of them too!), opened every single barrel, box, chest and bookshelf, exploring every inch of each act, attempting to clear ridiculously difficult encounters while being too low level (looking at you, burning witch in Act 2), nagging at every puzzle until I could solve them, read the entire quest tracker over and over to make sure I missed as little as possible... And 90% of the game was absolutely wonderful - it felt amazing to be able to choose not do a quest and reap the reward elsewhere (like when trying to master Source in DOS2 - you need only 2 masters to share their knowledge, but there are plenty to go around so you can refuse a few if you don't want to do their particular quest) and, at least in the side quest-lines - you had a choice. The core quest line was... Mostly bearable... It was the options outside of the core-story that I loved. From deciding what to do with the two hexed cows to whenever I was gonna kill Ryker or not.

But time to time there were these really annoying conversations that didn't make sense at all - like the incidents of the Red Prince and Sebille. Or the Doctor - I didn't even get the option to kill him. I genuinely tried to, in every single way possible - but he just ported me out of his home and that was that. I never found a way to kill him. frown Or the incident with Lohar and the magisters - I couldn't choose to side with Lohar because I didn't directly give him the magister's letter at the beginning (I didn't trust him) - then when Beast told me that we should side with him, the option to do the Lohar-path was gone. >.< And for not mentioning the Queen's Letter incident with Lohar. Most of the time, from my perspective, it was not as much faulty dialogues as much LACK OF THEM. Like I mentioned in my previous comment. ... And not just regarding big stuff, but also the smaller incidents - the characters do talk and make comments on some occasions, so it feels weird when they don't do it when it is due. I mean, I felt extremely weirded out when visiting the Doctor's Home and talking to his "nurses", as someone talking to each and every NPC, and having NONE of my companions reacting to their... Inappropriate behaviors. I was at least expecting a smug comment from Fane or some dwarf-threats from Beast. :x

In general, both BG3 and in DOS2 (but primarily the later cause yknow, I've had more time playing DOS2) are severely lacking companion character input in conversations. Like the mentioned meeting with Ryk-... I mean vampire dude while having followers. Same goes for when the yellow lady loses her stuff and tries to attack you during the same night as the seductive dream, really. I believe one out of the other four companions made a slight note about it afterwards, but other than that they didn't really seem to care. Half-devil's visit could also have included the companions a bit more.

And it is not even that they can't include companions in conversations - because they do! From time to time, but it is so very inconsistent and that takes away a bit of the magical feeling for me. frown




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I'm very curious about what did you mean when you said you don't play these kind of games. I really want to recommend some games to you, but I'm not sure where to start.

Anyway if you never played it and want to see companions done right you have to try Dragon Age Origins. The companions are not necessarily better written, but they are exactly what you are talking about, responsive, outspoken, and feel more alive.

Anyways, about whether it's a design philosophy (Larian active choice) or a matter of their ability to address all variables - there is no way to know honestly. When I think about it, I hope you're right, because it increases the chances they will try to address these issues immensely. Unfortunately, since we only get act 1, I don't have a lot of hope in that regard for the full game.



Larian's Biggest Oversight, what to do about it, and My personal review of BG3 EA
"74.85% of you stood with the Tieflings, and 25.15% of you sided with Minthara. Good outweighs evil, it seems."
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Originally Posted by Abits
I'm very curious about what did you mean when you said you don't play these kind of games. I really want to recommend some games to you, but I'm not sure where to start.

Anyway if you never played it and want to see companions done right you have to try Dragon Age Origins. The companions are not necessarily better written, but they are exactly what you are talking about, responsive, outspoken, and feel more alive.

Anyways, about whether it's a design philosophy (Larian active choice) or a matter of their ability to address all variables - there is no way to know honestly. When I think about it, I hope you're right, because it increases the chances they will try to address these issues immensely. Unfortunately, since we only get act 1, I don't have a lot of hope in that regard for the full game.



Was that reply for me?
Oh, I am just late for the party. I always enjoyed the element of RPGs in other games I've played (MMORPGs, lobby games with somewhat elaborate lore and character interactions, strategy games like Xcom, Starcraft and Battlemech ... You get the idea), but I always shrugged off the RPG as it's own genre (aka, solo player RPGs) as not my thing even though I gave titles like Witcher 3 and Skyrim a try - but it didn't stick.

My brother showed me DOS2 long, long ago and I was just like "Just... Roleplaying? Nooo, that's not my thing..." which is a bit of a contradiction since truth to be told, nothing appeals to me more than proper class fantasy and character tailoring - which can be reflected in my picks in all other games, so eventually while having some downtime on my regular games recently I bought DOS2 impulsively and got stuck. I was going to play it with my brother, but he could not play very often so I ended up playing 95% on my own cause I couldn't stop. Everything about the game just consumed me. XD And then when I finished DOS2 and started the replay... I experienced the same thing you mentioned in the original article - sure, the small flavors of side quests and the 3 new followers were refreshing - but the core story only gave you the illusion of choice - so I lost interest in doing it all again on my own and looked elsewhere while waiting to continue DOS2 with my brother. He mentioned that BG3 was on it's way and I checked it out - hesitated due to the comments I mentioned from Steam reviews (and due to the fact that it is in EA and not released) but eventually I couldn't stop myself so I bought it as well. :'D And here I am!

I'd happily take any recommendations. I even believe I already own DAO (one of my brother's favorite games) - but the installation never worked for me so I gave up on it. :x

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Originally Posted by Dez
Originally Posted by Abits
I'm very curious about what did you mean when you said you don't play these kind of games. I really want to recommend some games to you, but I'm not sure where to start.

Anyway if you never played it and want to see companions done right you have to try Dragon Age Origins. The companions are not necessarily better written, but they are exactly what you are talking about, responsive, outspoken, and feel more alive.

Anyways, about whether it's a design philosophy (Larian active choice) or a matter of their ability to address all variables - there is no way to know honestly. When I think about it, I hope you're right, because it increases the chances they will try to address these issues immensely. Unfortunately, since we only get act 1, I don't have a lot of hope in that regard for the full game.



Was that reply for me?
Oh, I am just late for the party. I always enjoyed the element of RPGs in other games I've played (MMORPGs, lobby games with somewhat elaborate lore and character interactions, strategy games like Xcom, Starcraft and Battlemech ... You get the idea), but I always shrugged off the RPG as it's own genre (aka, solo player RPGs) as not my thing even though I gave titles like Witcher 3 and Skyrim a try - but it didn't stick.

My brother showed me DOS2 long, long ago and I was just like "Just... Roleplaying? Nooo, that's not my thing..." which is a bit of a contradiction since truth to be told, nothing appeals to me more than proper class fantasy and character tailoring - which can be reflected in my picks in all other games, so eventually while having some downtime on my regular games recently I bought DOS2 impulsively and got stuck. I was going to play it with my brother, but he could not play very often so I ended up playing 95% on my own cause I couldn't stop. Everything about the game just consumed me. XD And then when I finished DOS2 and started the replay... I experienced the same thing you mentioned in the original article - sure, the small flavors of side quests and the 3 new followers were refreshing - but the core story only gave you the illusion of choice - so I lost interest in doing it all again on my own and looked elsewhere while waiting to continue DOS2 with my brother. He mentioned that BG3 was on it's way and I checked it out - hesitated due to the comments I mentioned from Steam reviews (and due to the fact that it is in EA and not released) but eventually I couldn't stop myself so I bought it as well. :'D And here I am!

I'd happily take any recommendations. I even believe I already own DAO (one of my brother's favorite games) - but the installation never worked for me so I gave up on it. :x

Based on your comments I urge you to try Dragon Age Origins. Most people will rightfully say it doesn't reach the heights that Baldur's Gate 2 reached (Baldur's Gate 2 is like the ultimate masterpiece of the genre), but it's very good and very cinematic. and fully voice acted and all that. Baldur's Gate 3 is very similar to DAO in presentation, but I think if you'll play it you'll see exactly what I mean when I say flagging and immersion done right. Other than that, every game BioWare made from 1998 to 2011ish is a solid choice, especially if you enjoy the storytelling style of Dos2 and bg3. the gameplay in Bioware games could vary a lot (you have D&D games, Mass Effect which is a RPG-third person shooter hybrid, and even some kung fu action RPG), but the storytelling is very much the same - dialogue choices, companions, different endings based on your actions. Plenty of games to keep you occupied until the full bg3 release. I kinda envy you in that regard, to be able to play these games for the first time.

I can't finish without mentioning my own first Bioware game, which Star Wars: Knights of the old republic. It came out in 2004 I think, and its gameplay is kinda similar to the Baldur's gate gameplay, but much more streamlined. It's fooly voice acted, but It looks very old and might not even work on your rig. but a really great story, a must for a star wars fan. just avoid spoilers at any cost.

Last edited by Abits; 26/10/20 10:19 PM.

Larian's Biggest Oversight, what to do about it, and My personal review of BG3 EA
"74.85% of you stood with the Tieflings, and 25.15% of you sided with Minthara. Good outweighs evil, it seems."
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Originally Posted by Abits
Based on your comments I urge you to try Dragon Age Origins. Most people will rightfully say it doesn't reach the heights that Baldur's Gate 2 reached (Baldur's Gate 2 is like the ultimate masterpiece of the genre), but it's very good and very cinematic. and fully voice acted and all that. Baldur's Gate 3 is very similar to DAO in presentation, but I think if you'll play it you'll see exactly what I mean when I say flagging and immersion done right. Other than that, every game BioWare made from 1998 to 2011ish is a solid choice, especially if you enjoy the storytelling style of Dos2 and bg3. the gameplay in Bioware games could vary a lot (you have D&D games, Mass Effect which is a RPG-third person shooter hybrid, and even some kung fu action RPG), but the storytelling is very much the same - dialogue choices, companions, different endings based on your actions. Plenty of games to keep you occupied until the full bg3 release. I kinda envy you in that regard, to be able to play these games for the first time.

I can't finish without mentioning my own first Bioware game, which Star Wars: Knights of the old republic. It came out in 2004 I think, and its gameplay is kinda similar to the Baldur's gate gameplay, but much more streamlined. It's fooly voice acted, but It looks very old and might not even work on your rig. but a really great story, a must for a star wars fan. just avoid spoilers at any cost.


I'll make sure to give DAO a try then when I've fummed about enough in BG3 laugh Thank you for your recommendations - I'll definitely give BG2 a look as well, since it is so highly spoken of. c:

And even I am aware of Biowares reputation when it comes to RPGs laugh And I've seen the entire famous Mass Effect on YouTube (... I've watched a lot of entire games like movies on YT xD ). Thank you very much for your recommendations. c:

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I'll chip in with my two cents I suppose, been wanting to make an account for a while to comment anyway. I will say, I personally didn't enjoy DOS2's story (I did, however, enjoy the battle system enough to grin and bear it) while BGIII already feels leaps and bounds more interesting narratively. I also played the game after the third patch, so that might affect my opinion vs yours.

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Larian doesn't seem to care about the story, or at least doesn't seem to care about the story enough for a game at this scale. I don't think it's (necessarily) bad writing, I don't think it's a bug issue (more on that later), I think that Larian simply prefers to give us as many RP choices as possible no matter how much harm it (potentially) creates for the story's cohesiveness and immersion.

I think they care quite a bit. A lot of what they're attempting feels fairly ambitious. That said, I do agree that trying to provide absolute freedom to the player is the antithesis of well-written narrative. You have to impose boundaries.

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It is a bug only if there is a conversation that is not triggered. I doubt such a conversation exists.

A lot of them strike me as bugs. For example, I've now played through the game several times, and when Nettie tries to poison you, she'll address either Shadowheart or Lae'zel and ask them to leave (they'll refuse, which is why they're my ride or dies, fuck the haters). However, there have been times when this exchange wouldn't trigger. I believe Larian has also mentioned they're going to implement companions interjecting for specific skill checks. I did find the Astarion example egregious, but that's the only time in the game where a companion didn't react at all to a situation that surely could've used a reaction for me. That said, it does seem like the game prioritizes only showcasing one companions opinion in a scene and picks which companion reacts seemingly at random (perhaps it's tied to approval? I'm uncertain).

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3. Restrict the raging player - too much choice that doesn't mean anything is not worth it. the most coherent part of the game from a narrative point of view is the tutorial area, where you can only move forward. I'm not saying make the game linear, but either address the fact the player is doing things out of order, or don't let him do it. Even Baldur's Gate 1, which was anything but linear, had certain places blocked for you until you reached a certain stage in the game (like the city itself for instance). the situation in BG is built like you have access to chapter 3 of BG1 before you arrived Neeshkal. How can you build a narrative around the goblin threat if you can go to their fort and kill all of them before reaching the druid grove? again, you could try to address it (option 2 in this part), but as long as you have so much freedom to do whatever you want, it is very hard to create a story that is not all over the place.
I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas as well.

'Too much choice that doesn't mean anything' is relative. I like the little details such as more lax answers leading to Zevlor punching that one mercenary, while more uptight answers lead to Zevlor getting punched (unless you mediate the dispute). I like that the Drow have an easier time getting into the goblin camp. And above all else, I like that the option to bypass dice roles exists, constantly tempting the player. It's the thesis of Baldur's Gate regarding power/abuse of power.

And I disagree that the most coherent narrative is the tutorial. All of the major sidequests dovetail back into the main tadpole conflict in some way or another. Wyll, goblin camp. Lae'zel, Risen Road. Astarion, bog. And each sidequest also furthers specific companion quests. Not only that, but most of the companions personal quests all seem to tie into the main overarching plot (Shar worshippers, cambions such as Mizora, Netherese magic, and the Githyanki/Mind Flayer conflicts are all involved in the Absolute conspiracy).

Shadowheart and Gale are a little less defined, however. Although Gale, from what I understand, was a last minute addition and originally planned to show up later in the story. It IS fairly easy to miss out on the narrative, however--I missed the broken down Selune statue SH reacts to (in the Blighted Village) in my first few playthroughs of the game. And Gale's personal quest is really hard to trigger too. I'd say that's more an issue of game design (and the nature of EA), however, not narrative flaw, since the narrative itself exists and is quite interesting. As opposed to DoS2, where regardless of whether it worked properly or not, I just... didn't care.

As for the whole companions/origin thing, I'm indifferent to it. It's certainly a concept I wouldn't mind seeing iterated upon, so if Larian can continue to improve it then more power to them.

Perhaps one way to ensure party members are involved in their personal quest (or at least Wyll's, as you miss out on a LOT if you don't bring him along, although I did find his tantrum at being left behind hilarious) would be some sort of gather your party function similar to what DA did, with Wyll as a mandatory party member for that segment. I can certainly see this being annoying for a subset of players, but we're both in agreement that restrictions can be good, so it's certainly worth considering at the very least.

The goblin camp is being treated as the only way to progress the main story because the other two options currently aren't available. Lae'zel's creche questline is clearly unfinished (all roads will end at Moonrise Tower, however). I know Halsin says we can't progress into the shadow area but Halsin is an idiot so I don't take that too seriously.

My biggest gripe so far is the progression of time, personally, as well as the fact that so many events/companion moments are tied to camping. It's one of those non-digetic gaming concepts that really takes me out of the story. I don't care if we get a day/night cycle, but the fact you can fuck off for an indeterminate length of time without the Grove closing off is absurd. It also completely undermines the urgency of getting your tadpole removed, although since this is a plot point I'm not as bothered by it as I am by the Rite of Thorns seemingly never happening while I spend a week fucking around with gnolls and githyanki and zhent. Some sort of timer, maybe? I know events auto-complete after a certain point, but it makes more sense to me to tie it to how often you long rest.


“But his mind saw nothing of all this. His mind was engaged in a warfare of the gods. His mind paced outwards over no-man's-land, over the fields of the slain, paced to the rhythm of the blood's red bugles. To be alone and evil! To be a god at bay. What was more absolute?”
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Good post, OP. Much work done, Larian must be thankful they have such a responsive and caring community.

I double what you’ve described in your post. I was recently thinking about that druid which poisons you because you’re done and will become a threat eventually. And you’re standing there in a closed room expecting your death. This is so badly written. Why doesn’t she acknowledge you’re there with another three companions? Why can’t I tell her my companions are infected as well? How will she respond? Yes, the problem is that all these situations are quite complicated in terms of how this world should react, but give very little choices except few obvious.

I don’t remember who said this exactly, probably Avellone: “if you give player a possibility, make sure there’s a meaningful way to use it”


Romances in RPGs brought us to this
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stranger
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Yep, I share many of these thoughts. It does seem like story is actually bellow the gameplay, world design and seemingly even multiplayer on the importance scale, very odd.

I made a thread not too long ago where I tried to outline my thoughts and feelings of what the issues were, its not as eloquently put but I do think the gist is similar, it was hard for me to wrap my head around why the story and the game by extention, feels so off when compared to something like Pathfinder Kingmaker or Wrath of the Righteous (Have beta for it and its inrcedible). Your post helped me clear my thoughts and I do hope that Larian listens to this feedback, I hardly seem to be in it alone, there is simply something off about the way this game deals with the story.

You can say that this is the Larian formula but this isnt Divinity, they actively went out of their way to try their hands at BG3, and I am very grateful they did, but they should reconsider their ideology of how to put the games together and who they really want to target, because as it is it doesnt feel like they will please all that many fans. Personally Id just chalk multiplayer down the abyss and make it something they deal with after launch, not make it into decision behind the primary design seemingly, it kicks up nearly every other aspect of the game. I remember being somewhat confused the first time I finished D:OS 2 (and 1 for that matter) it felt like I only had a relatively small piece of the story and little understanding, despite going out of my way to explore nearly everything, even the story seemed to be designed around multiple replays and solutions, you can freely skip large sections of narration and plot development for characters and story without it being obvious at all and that simply feels wrong. Replaying the game for me was always about discovering alternatives, finding out secrets and difference in roleplay not putting the actual plot of the game together over multiple playthroughs.

The begining of the game is great, its coherent and structured but as soon as the map opens up and the main quest kicks in, it feels like a sequence of several unrelated adventures that you can barely even consciously chose which to follow because you cant really start heading in a specific direction without running into milion things and missing million other things along the way, always making me feel like im not moving forward in the story and at the same time I probably made the wrong choices of which order to play in. And its even worse because you supposedly have a death clock on your head which makes you want to rush and get some answers or solutions as soon as possible. Personally I suggested a much easier solution, but it obviously wouldnt fix everything especially not in the case of character reactivity and event flagging, but making clear separation between specific parts of the story and map would help a lot in terms of player choice and how coherent is proceeding with the story, the more I play the game, the less I am a fan of the maps full of things to bursting that are barely connected to anything. BG 1 and 2 had this right.
It simply feels like the experience should be more managed, more controlled to a degree, its nice that you can do anything but it doesnt matter if it just leads to the same outcomes and only serves to mess up the proceedings and roleplay, make the game more linear for all I care, I dont think thats a bad thing at all if it keeps the story from being all over the place and me missing out on huge story bits.

It may seem weird or maybe even stupid but I genuinely feel like majority of the off feeling I have with this game can be chalked up to its design to be played with multiple people at once, its made so everyone can have something to do, places to run around in, ways of going about stuff differently but the experience for the player who plays alone should be the main thing here, yea many people will use BG3 for their own campaign for sure I dont doubt it, but even among the most fervent of dnd players who will actually want to experience it in a group the first time or first few times around? For me story is king, story, characters and then gameplay and whatever else.

And personally, I hate the Origin characters idea, just the whole of it, makes no sense to me in a bg game that precreated character has more content and more to do than PC. Love them as companions but if they didnt make Origins character as they did they would have had much easier time of making the game and I wager not many players will even experience their stories from their point of view, just the amount of replays it would warrant is insane and I would bet anything that vast majority of people will simply want to play as them. I finished D:OS 4 times but never played as and Origin character there either despite it decidedly feeling like im missing out (a horrible feeling to be had for sure in an rpg like these)

Last edited by mademan2; 04/05/21 09:54 PM.
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stranger
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Originally Posted by Gaidax
Quote
Larian doesn't seem to care about the story

Frankly, the moment I see something like this, I just click boots and move on. That's just a bad faith take from the get go.

If you want to shit on the game, there is no need to veil it - just say "lulz Lairan ur st00pid and ur gaem bad" and that's about it - will save you and everyone a lot of time.


Larian cares about the story a lot, because they know very well the whole project will live or die by this - this is the game that will either make them a huge ass name in RPG genre or destroy them and it's Baldur's Gate 3, they know what's at stake. You can bet your ass, they will put insane amount of effort into everything to make this one of the best RPGs of a decade, just how they put insane amount of effort in facial animations. Saying they don't care after seeing those amazing conversation facial animations tuned so much is just ridiculous.

The many oddities, glitches and other things that spite the eye at the moment will be ironed out. You can bet they will make your party members focus on the whatever thing you interact with instead of staring into the horizon and they will introduce interruptions like in that knife bit too, because there is plenty of feedback about it and it only makes sense.


Maybe try to give feedback with a little more good faith next time, instead of coming off the way you do.

I dont feel like he came off badly, on the contrary puting so much effort into trying to understand what is going on is commendable, especially considering that Larian has been relatively quiet on adjusments on the story front.
That being said, while you took the quote out of its place, that certainly is a bad outlook to have but that isnt really what he was saying as he mentioned several times that at worst the game will be harmless fun, instead of the legend it can and should be.

I share the fear that while yea, they do think story is important it decidedly feels low on the importance scale in comparison to gameplay and multiplayer as the game seems to be designed for player freedom rather than coherent storytelling so far and going off of D:OS 2, it will likely stay that way, or that BG3 despite it being a completely differne series will have the same structure as D:OS 2, which again, doesnt mean particularly good things for the coherency of the plot as in that game you can easilly mess up or skip huge chunks of story without even realising anything unless you played the game already. If there is one aspect in which I do not wish BG3 to be a reskin of D:OS 2 its this one, this should be its own experience, different from Divnity, it shouldnt be designed with multiplayer first in mind or just to give players a big map to mess around in, not unless they can also do it while telling a coherent story.

I believe this post is actually made in good faith, faith that Larian will look at things and change some stuff up, its why I made mine as well because whil I do enjoy the game it doesnt feel as good as it could and this is what Larian is asking for, feedback on what is both good and bad.

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enthusiast
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Superb post. Completely agree.
I very HIGHLY DOUBT that this is because of EA. This is a clear trait of Larian games, as DOS2 clearly proves this. In the open world companions are stagnant cardboard cut outs to your actions until you go to camp where they <magically> sorta interact.
Man, Pathfinder Wotr is shaping up to be amazing in that.... and many more aspects lol.

Last edited by mr_planescapist; 05/05/21 12:14 PM.
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